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It's all about momentum

cricket Updated: May 06, 2011 01:41 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times
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Cricket has several clichés - a gentleman's game, game of glorious uncertainties, et al. T20 cricket has its own cliché, one that has been mouthed at almost every pre and post-match conference in the four years of the Indian Premier League - "It's all about momentum."

The old chestnut will again be on everyone's platter when a well-rested Royal Challengers Bangalore square off against the Kings XI Punjab at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday.

RCB are unbeaten in their last four matches, however, the last of those was over a week ago. After beating an insipid Pune Warriors India last Thursday, Daniel Vettori's men were sitting pretty at the second spot.

A week later, they have slipped to sixth and with the competition quickly pulling clear, the hosts have to leave the inactivity behind, lest their knockout hopes are dashed.

Since acquiring West Indies opener Chris Gayle, who announced his arrival with a whirlwind ton against his former club, Kolkata Knight Riders, RCB have won all three games.

His blistering form at the start of the innings, coupled with Virat Kohli's adept displays at one drop, have more than made up for the lean output of Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan.

South Africa's AB de Villers was shouldering the bulk of the batting responsibility prior to Gayle's arrival, although his role has diminished with the batsman in front hitting top form. Left-handed slugger Saurabh Tiwary can also be called upon for late innings fireworks.

Vettori has led the bowling attack admirably, and as captain, has always been willing to try something different.

They have also been bolstered by Zaheer Khan's improved showing over the last two games, while left-arm pacer S Aravind and tweaker Syed Mohammahad have also bowled tidy spells.

Adam Gilchrist's team was in a similar position as Bangalore, having won three of their last four matches before a seven-day gap.

Since then, they have lost two on the trot, and their chances of making it to the knockouts look slim.

While it could be said that they lost momentum after the seven-day break, the explanation for the Kings XI's recent woes is much simpler - their bowlers have been conceding too many runs.

The three frontline bowlers - Praveen Kumar, Ryan Harris and Piyush Chawla, are all conceding over 8.50 runs per over.

Opener Paul Valthaty and Shaun Marsh have been the standout performers with the bat.

The diminutive Mumbai opener has even outshone the legendary Gilchrist at the top. However, even he has come a cropper in the last two matches.